First Larne Presbyterian Church

First Larne Presbyterian Church

An Ode to Learning


If you find yourself marvel-less this day, may I humbly offer you something to provoke some marvelling? Marvellous! That something is the sheer volume of quality, accessible learning opportunities afforded to us in our digital age.


The other day, while exercising on the patio, I tucked in to my first ever episode of the Power Corrupts podcast, gaining insight into how governments rig elections. Later that day, I was on my knees, dealing with a basket of coloured washing. I popped on a YouTube video about the benefits of immersing oneself in cold water… and have subsequently got myself acquainted with the River Ouse.


Then, for the few minutes my kids were not requiring me to rescue them from the monkey bars at the park, I read a few articles in The Week magazine… avoiding the one about epidemic levels of pollution in our rivers, naturally.


Back when ‘I were a lad’, learning was a necessary evil. In fact, I didn’t even think it was necessary.


But now that I’ve got a few greys coming through, I’ve realised just what a joy it is to learn. Some of my happiest times are times when I’m learning. Learning makes life rich – it helps us appreciate the depth and complexity of this world and the humans God has placed within it – in all our beauty and brokenness. Learning is a creational gift: we are hardwired to seek out knowledge, to retain it, to connect apparently random bits of it together, to use it, and share it.


Providing our hearts are turned outwards to the world in humble service, learning swells our capacity to serve others. And in our desire to help others discover the relevance of Christ and his gospel to their everyday lives, learning creates infinite connection points. I discovered this when chatting to a guy in the pool, who’s about to start a PhD in desert agriculture. An audiobook I’d listened to had talked about pressures on global food supplies, so I was at least able to ask some semi-intelligent questions, and affirm the God-given goodness of his course.


So, let’s give thanks to God for the amazing opportunities we have to learn – in ways that are engaging, accessible, and often free. Let’s be like Jesus, who – from the evidence of his parables – clearly took time to learn about so many aspects of life. And for the enriching of our minds, and in the service of others, let’s keep learning.


 Joe Warton

LICC Church Team – Research & Development